‘These stories have to be told’
Chicano rap as historical source
Keywords:Hip-hop, Chicano Rap, Los Angeles, Mexican American
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Los Angeles gave rise to Chicano rap, a subgenre of gangster rap that uniquely incorporated transcultural signifiers of music and language. Key characteristics included ‘oldie’ and Chicano rock samples, multilingual lyrics and the proclamation of Brown pride. The lyrics treated gang violence, police brutality and daily life in the varrio (’hood), thus articulating the artists’ alienation from white America. While strongly identifying with both LA and their Mexican heritage, artists like (Kid) Frost created a brand-new music style that inspired a whole generation of bilingual rappers. Considering Chicano rap as historical source provides a deeper understanding of the issues Mexican-American youth in the US have been facing up to the present day. On the basis of (Kid) Frost’s music this article will trace cultural and social topics as well as musical features that mirror the resurfacing of Chicano consciousness and identity during the 1990s
Abe, D. 2013. 6 N the Morning: West Coast Hip-Hop Music 1987–1992 and the Transformation of Mainstream Culture. Los Angeles, CA: Over the Edge Publishing.
Acosta, A. 2010. ‘La Raza’. In Latino History and Culture: An Encyclopedia, Vol. I, ed. D. J. Leonard and C. R. Lugo-Lugo, 279. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference.
Acuña, R. 1996. Anything but Mexican: Chicanos in Contemporary Los Angeles. London and New York: Verso Books.
AllHip-Hop. 2012. ‘Exclusive: West Coast Rapper Kid Frost’s New Lease on Life’. AllHip-Hop.com, 3 April. https://allhiphop.com/2012/04/03/exclusive-west-coast-rapper-kid-frosts-new-lease-on-life/.
Alridge, D. P. 2005. ‘From Civil Rights to Hip-Hop’. Journal of African American History 90/3: 226–52. https://doi.org/10.1086/JAAHv90n3p226
Baker, Soren. 2018. The History of Gangster Rap: From Schooly D to Kendrick Lamar. The Rise of a Great American Art Form. New York: Abrams Image.
Beckham, J. M. 2005. ‘Border Policy/Border Cinema: Placing Touch of Evil, the Border, and Traffic in the American Imagination’. Journal of Popular Film and Television 33/3: 130–41. https://doi.org/10.3200/JPFT.33.4.130-141
Chappell, B. 2012. Lowrider Space: Aesthetics and Politics of Mexican American Custom Cars. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Connell, J., and C. Gibson. 2002. ‘The Long and Winding Road’. In Soundtracks: Popular Music, Identity and Place, ed. J. Connell and C. Gibson, 270–81. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203448397
Cruz, C. 2015. Bang for Freedom: A Brief History of Mexican Mafia, Nuestra Familia and Latino Activism in the U.S. Lulu.com.
Davis, M. 2006 . City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. 15-year anniversary edition. New York: Verso.
—2001. Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City. New York: Verso.
Del Barco, M. 1996. ‘Rap’s Latino Sabor’. In Droppin’ Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture, ed. W. Perkins, 63–84. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Foley, N. 2014. Mexicans in the Making of America. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.4159/9780674735675
Frost. 2019. Personal communication to author, 13 May. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444394962
Henderson, T. J. 2011. Beyond Borders: A History of Mexican Migration to the United States. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Hochman, S. 1990. ‘Kid Frost Raps to La Raza’. LA Times, 26 August. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-08-26-ca-194-story.html
Johnson, G. T. M. 2002. ‘A Sifting of Centuries: Afro-Chicano Interaction and Popular Musical Culture in California, 1960–2000’. In Decolonial Voices: Chicana and Chicano Cultural Studies in the 21st Century, ed. A. J. Aldama and N. Quiñonez, 316–29. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Kelley, R. D. G. 1996. ‘Kickin’ Reality, Kickin’ Ballistics: Gangsta Rap and Postindustrial Los Angeles’. In Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class, ed. R. D. G. Kelley, 183–294. New York: The Free Press.
Kelly, R. 1996. ‘Hip-Hop Chicano: A Separate but Parallel Story’. In Droppin’ Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture, ed. W. Perkins, 95–103. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Kun, J., and L. Pulido. 2013. ‘Introduction’. In Black and Brown in Los Angeles: Beyond Conflict and Coalition, ed. J. Kun and L. Pulido, 1–30. Los Angeles: University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520275591.003.0001
Macías, A. F. 2008. Mexican American Mojo: Popular Music, Dance, and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935–1968. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822389385
McFarland, P. 2008. Chicano Rap: Gender and Violence in the Postindustrial Barrio. Austin: University of Texas Press.
—2013. The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation: Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
Mellow Man Ace. 2019. Personal communication to author, 13 May.
Moore, K. T. 2010. ‘Hip Hop’. In Latino History and Culture: An Encyclopedia, Vol. I, ed. D. J. Leonard and C. R. Lugo-Lugo, 234–37. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference.
Morrison, A M. 2008. ‘Musical Trafficking: Urban Youth and the Narcocorrido-Hardcore Rap Nexus’. Western Folklore 67/4: 379–96.
Nericcio, W. A. 1992. ‘Of Mestizos and Half-Breeds: Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil’. In Chicanos and Film: Essays on Chicano Representation and Resistance, ed. C. A. Noriega, 47–58. New York and London: Garland Publishing.
Pérez-Torres, R. 2000. ‘Mestizaje in the Mix: Chicano Identity, Cultural Politics, and Postmodern Music’. In Music and the Racial Imagination, ed. R. Radano, 206–230. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Rodriguez, R. 2010. ‘Low-G: From E.S.L. Mockery to Historic Spanish Hip-Hop’. Houston Press, 27 January. https://www.houstonpress.com/music/low-g-from-esl-mockery-to-historic-spanish-hip-hop-6493474
Saldívar, J. D. 1997. Border Matters: Remapping American Cultural Studies. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Valenzuela Arce, J. M. 2003. Jefe de Jefes: Corridos y Narcocultura en México. La Habana: Casa de las Américas.
Vasconcelos, J. 1948 . La Raza Cósmica: Misión de la Raza Iberoamericana. 2nd edn. Buenos Aires: Espasa-Calpe.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.